Serb nationalists clashed with riot police in Belgrade after the arrest of top war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, while his lawyer has vowed to fight extradition.
Protestors clashed with police in Belgrade
Angry at the new, Western-leaning government that captured war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, Serb nationalists in downtown Belgrade trashed businesses and clashed with police on Tuesday, July 22, news reports said, while the country's hardliner nationalist politicians denounced his arrest.
After several hundred demonstrators gathered at Republic Square on Tuesday, July 22, a group of about 50 broke chairs and windows in several bars and attacked police. They fled when riot police appeared.
Three young men were arrested, Serbian media said. No injuries were reported.
The protesters, who sang patriotic songs and wore shirts with Karadzic's face, began dispersing after a speech by the secretary-general of the ultranationalist Radical Party, Aleksandar Vucic.
Vucic said the Radicals would organize large protests in the next few days.
"I hope we'll organize large, massive protests and that we will show that we didn't kill Serbia," he said.
The Radicals were the only Serbian party not to welcome Karadzic's arrest, which they compared to killing Serbia.
Serbian authorities and the European Union meanwhile hailed the arrest as a step toward the EU.
Hiding in disguise
Karadzic, indicted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, was arrested Monday night in the Serbian capital after 12 years on the run.
The wanted war criminal had taken a false name, worked as a doctor and changed his appearance, allowing him to live in the capital unrecognized.
Serbian officials released a photo showing Karadzic, once clean-shaven and wavy-haired, with a long white mane, a beard and glasses. A trained psychiatrist, he lived under a false name in Belgrade and practiced alternative medicine for a private ambulance company, Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said.
"His false identity was so convincing," he told reporters. "He moved freely around town, appeared in public places and worked for a private ambulance company. People didn't recognize him."
Karadzic to appeal
Karadzic grew a long, white beard to conceal his identity
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has indicted Karadzic on charges including genocide and crimes against humanity for the brutal ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs during the Bosnian war, which killed 100,000 people.
He is charged with ordering the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serbs killed thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
Karadzic's lawyer Sveta Vujacic has vowed to appeal Serbia's plan to extradite the former Bosnian Serb chief to the UN war crimes court in The Hague.